Revisiting Yankees’ 1923 World Series: The first of their 27 titles

The New Yankees team in 1923 World Series

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In 2023, the New York Yankees have the best record in MLB with 27 World Series championships. However, their quest for history began exactly 100 years ago in 1923 when Babe Ruth and his teammates won the first World Series and it started a glorious depiction of the Yankees’ history.

In their first 20 years, between 1903 and 1922, the Yankees had only two pennants. They were without any World Series titles. When Babe Ruth arrived in the Bronx in 1920, the Yankees received a major boost. But they couldn’t have the title until another three years and lost to the cross-town rivals the New York Giants in the 1921 and 1922 World Series.

In 1923, the Yankees were determined to set things right and they won the World Series for the first time. The 2023 season will mark 100 years of that historic event.

The Yankees build-up to have the glory

When they played their first season at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx in 1923, the Yankees were a strong team. After losing the 1922 World Series to the Giants, which was very disappointing, the Yankees sped through the American League. With 98 wins, which is 15 more than the second-place Detroit Tigers, the Bombers would win the AL Pennant. Babe Ruth won the AL MVP award by a wide margin. He hit.393, hit a league-high 41 home runs, and had a crazy 1.309 OPS.

The Yankees had the most home runs in the 1923 American League, and their pitchers had the best ERA. Waite Hoyt had one of the best records while Sad Sam Jones had the most wins at 21. They won 18 games in September and cruised to the World Series because their pitchers were very good.

On January 30, 1923, the Red Sox gave the Yankees another pitcher Herb Pennock. Even though Pennock wasn’t the best player on the 1923 Yankees, he was the last piece of the puzzle that helped them win the championship. In Pennock’s first year in New York, he went 19-6 and led the league in winning percentage. He also had a 3.13 ERA, which gave him a 126 ERA+. Pennock would also finish second on the team in Baseball-Reference WAR, behind only Babe Ruth.

In Game 2, Pennock was the winning pitcher. He only gave up two runs in a 4-2 victory. In Game 4, he came out of the bullpen to pitch the last 1.1 innings. In the eighth, when the Giants were threatening, he got out of a jam with the bases full. He was also the pitcher who won the deciding Game 6, but he did let in four runs in seven innings. Pennock pitched 17.1 innings, which was more than any other Yankee pitcher in the series. He had a 3.63 ERA for the whole thing.

The World Series roller coaster

Both teams faced each other in the World Series for the third year in a row in 1923. This time, the Bombers played their home games in the newly inaugurated Yankee Stadium.

Bob Meusel and Whitey Whitt got hits early in the game that put the Yankees ahead of the Giants in Game 1. In the fourth, the Giants caught fire, just like a defending champion would. The Giants not only took a 4-3 lead, but they also got Yankees starter Wait Hoyt to leave the game. Bullet Joe Bush took over for Hoyt and pitched well for 6.2 innings, but he still lost the first World Series game. The Yankees tied the game in the seventh. However, with two outs in the top of the ninth, Casey Stengel’s amazing homer gave the Giants a 5-4 win.

When Game 2 of the series moved to the Polo Grounds, the Yankees got into a good rhythm. Babe Ruth only got on base once in Game 1, but he walked twice and hit two important home runs. In the eighth inning, when there were two outs and the tying run was on base, things got tricky. But Pennock kept his cool and got Hank Gowdy, a pinch-hitter for the Giants, to hit a fly ball to center field to end the inning. With a clean 9th, Pennock won the whole game and tied the series at 1-1. Finally, the Yankees won 4-2.

Art Nehf won Game 3 for the Giants with a six-hit shutout. After losing Game 3 by a score of 1-0 at Yankee Stadium, the Bombers tied the series again by winning on the road. At the Polo Grounds, the Yankees won Game 4 thanks to a little small ball. At the start of the second inning, Giants pitcher Jack Scott let three singles through. Rosy Ryan then took over for him.

Ryan gave Whitey Witt a double, and then he walked Ruth. Meusel made Ryan pay by hitting a triple that scored two runs and ended the game. The Yankees’ starter Bob Shawkey let the Giants score three runs, which kept them in the game. However, Pennock came out of the bullpen to save the game. In the end, the Yankees won 8–4.

With the series tied at 2-2 and Game 5 back in the Bronx, the Yankees were under a lot of pressure to win. Bullet Joe Bush built on his good relief performance in Game 1 by keeping the Giants to only three hits and one run over nine innings. Meusel once again saved the day by hitting a two-RBI triple in the bottom of the first inning. The Yankees’ third baseman, Joe Dugan, took a page from Stengel’s book and hit a home run inside the park in the second inning, giving the Bombers a 6-1 lead. They won it in a convincing way with the final score of 8-1.

The era of the Yankees started

During the first seven innings of Game 6, it looked like the Yankees were going to lose. But in the top of the eighth, three walks and a two-run single by Bob Meusel helped the Yankees score five runs, and they held on to win 6-4 and win their first World Series.

Ruth’s solo home run in the top of the first gave the Bombers an early lead, but the Giants came back and took a commanding lead into the late innings. At the start of the 8th, the Yankees were down 4-1 and in danger of letting the series go to a seventh game. But they woke up. Wally Schang, Everett Scott, and Fred Hofmann all got on base with one out.

The Yankees cut the score to 4-3 after two walks with the bases full. Ruth had a chance to give the Yankees the lead when he stepped up to the plate, but Rosy Ryan struck him out. With two outs, Bob Meusel stepped into the box. In Game 4, he was the one who hit Ryan for a triple. Again, Meusel changed the way the series went. The Yankees were up 6-4 after his single to center field and a costly throwing error. Sad Sam Jones saved the game with six outs, Pennock won his second game of the series, and the Yankees won the World Series.

The inspiration of 1923

Without the 1923 World Series title, the Yankees’ history would have been very different. Three straight losses in the World Series could be enough to write off Babe Ruth and his Yankees. Instead, 1923 was the beginning of a dynasty for the ages. In 1927, 1928, and 1932, Ruth’s team repeated their title win. Between 1923 and 1962, the Bombers won an amazing 20 championships and became the most successful sports team in the United States. By 2009, it became 27. But it all started in 1923. Can the Yankees commemorate the 100th year of that title with another World Series win in 2023?

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